Patriots will reportedly "make a big swing" for enticing free-agent receiver

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans / Logan Riely/GettyImages

With free agency set to begin on Wednesday and the legal tampering period opening tomorrow, the Patriots will finally be allowed to speak to the remaining receivers available in hopes of convincing at least one of them to sign with the team.

The shortlist of players they were reportedly going to be in on has dwindled since the offseason began, as Mike Evans re-signed with the Bucs and Tee Higgins was franchise-tagged by the Bengals. Both were hits to their free agency plans for one of the team's biggest weaknesses, but they have now shifted their focus to the top receiver left looking for a new team.

According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the Patriots are believed to "take a big swing" on Calvin Ridley, who they had been interested in before his trade to the Jaguars in 2022.

“Expect the Patriots to swing big on receiver Calvin Ridley. The Jaguars are very interested in keeping Ridley but haven’t been able to close the deal.”

Although he isn't considered a WR1 to many teams, he would almost certainly lock down that role for the Patriots if acquired. Before the start of free agency, the team only rosters DeMario Douglas and unexciting pass catchers that won't propel their offense forward.

The hope is that they re-sign Kendrick Bourne, who has made it clear he wants to return and sign Ridley. If they can get that done and add another free agent or even a player in the draft, it gives them a chance to build a much improved receiving corps than they've had in recent years, which would pair well with a new quarterback, rookie, or otherwise.

It would be quite the way to kick off the new era under Mayo, and fortunately, they have the cash to pay Ridley, which the Jaguars do not. The Patriots currently stand with over $80 million in cap space, while Jacksonville sits with just over $17 million.

Perhaps Mayo and Co. will have to overpay a little to convince Ridley to move up north, but would that really be a bad thing? It has been far too long since they've had a 1,000-yard receiver on the team, and he could easily put their offense back on the map.

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